Reading List

The following is a list of random titles that I think are worth reading. Some are Africa-related, some just really good reads!

 

Margaret Laurence: The Prophet’s Camel Bell

I’m not done this one yet, reading it slowly to savour it. The Prophet’s Camel Bell is the story of the author and her husband’s time in British Somaliland, where they skirt the boundaries of ex-patriot society and the colonial mindset. The book is a series of sketches describing the characters they meet, the fluctuating landscape, and the experience of living in a completely foreign culture.

 

Chimamanda Adichie: Half of a Yellow Sun

I heard about this Nigerian author at our CUSO-VSO training session, where we watched her TED talk, The danger of a single story. The talk is absolutely brilliant. When I came across her books in a Dar es Salaam bookshop I chose this one and was not disappointed. Once the story unfolded, it did feel a bit contrived, but the writing was captivating and she really brought the characters to life. It’s a really interesting look into Nigerian history and culture, which I know nothing about – my interest has been piqued!

 

Naomi Kline: The Shock Doctrine

An intense book for an intense time in my life! Seriously. Read it.

 

Ryszard Kapuscinski: The Shadow of the Sun

The best book about Africa. A Polish reporter travels around Africa in the 60’s and beyond, documenting the withdrawal of the colonial powers and the horrifying events in Rwanda and Uganda. He gives background information to all these stories that actually clarifies them, instead of the disconnected way we normally receive news, part of the reason our generation is so, well, disconnected.

 

Michela Wrong: I Didn’t Do It For You – How The World Betrayed A Small African Nation

The most fascinating, well-written historical book I’ve ever read, it made me fall in love with Eretria. Now I even know where it is!

 

Azar Nafisi: Reading Lolita in Tehran

Fascinating and exquisitely written, this is the tale of the Iranian Revolution and how it went sour. Another one to savour.

 

Haruki Murakami: Kafka on the Shore

I have no idea how he comes up with this stuff, but it’s brilliant, it’s weird, and extremely random. Some of the smartest, most creative people I know love Haruki Murakami… I’m sold. I want more!

 

Keri Hulme: The Bone People

Takes place in New Zealand, explores the Maori culture and tradition along with the day-to-day struggles of some troubled but average people. Disturbing, mystical, and down-to-earth, all at once.

 

Gregory David Roberts: Shantaram

I was introduced to this book by a friend who said “I was told this book will change your life. Makes me feel rather sceptical….” So when I borrowed it from my roomie in Montreal I didn’t know what to expect. It didn’t change my life (as far as I can tell), but it was really good!

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